Richard Sen and Neil Beatnik are not normal people. Having won notoriety as a Bronx Dog (Heavenly) and a Dirty Beatnik (Wall of Sound) respectively, Padded Cell came about in 2002, partly as a response to the conservatism of early millennium dance music but also to act as a conduit through which they could conduct and realize their most outlandish ideas.
Originally let loose in order to remix Big Two Hundred’s ‘Let it Bleed’, their first full scale release came in the Autumn of 2005 with Signal Failure, a prowling slab of sub aqua freak funk that reached like an ESP projection from within the Cell to the darkest corners of the dance floor.
With a sound that draws from sources as diverse as Goblin, The Velvet Underground, Arthur Russell, Prince, Carl Craig and label boss J Saul Kane, analogue fetishism and creeping psychosis are key themes, as is a need to create something that is both honest and unique.
It is their intent to fashion a sound that is soulful and emotional, yet also dark and narcotic; something that can be understood simultaneously by the head and the heart, getting under the skin in different ways. Rather than seeking to fit into a pre-existing niche, its about creating an idiosyncratic sound that is peculiar to their respective personalities and reflective of their combined experience.
A shared history as club deejays and producers means that even the most mind bending elements of their sound are conducted through dance floor focused channels; disco breaks and rolling percussion combining with menacing synth work outs, electro sensibilities and live instrumentation to create an unholy brew that has been described variously as ‘dark-disco’, ‘goth-disco-rock’, and perhaps most tellingly of all, ‘devils-disco’.
The Padded Cell inhabit a hinterland between many worlds and it is there that they conduct their alchemical experiments, the experiments that draw the listener into shadows with whispers and opaque promises; follow your ears and You’ll find yourself trapped within.